For RIP Kenny, life is about experiences. His recently released debut album, Escapism, along with the full visual, takes listeners on the ride of their lives.
Escapism features “Letting Go,” “Lost,” “Thought I Knew You,” and “i’m ok alone,” as well as ten fresh tracks.
At the age of three, RIP Kenny was skiing, followed by snowmobiling when he was 10. By the time he was 17, RIP Kenny was a professional downhill mountain biker. Cut short by an injury, his biking career has been replaced by his ardent passion for music.
RIP Kenny’s sound, which he calls “Alternative Dubstep,” merges elements of metal, punk, and melodic dubstep into electrifying sonic concoctions surging with heady glitches, massive drops, and potent surfaces.
CelebMix caught up with RIP Kenny to find out more about his genre-breaking sound and his passion for art.
Hey RIP Kenny (Evan), congratulations on the recent release of your debut album, Escapism, and thanks for joining us. How does it feel to have the album out in the world?
Hey! Thank you, and thanks for having me. Definitely a big weight off my shoulders having this thing done and out there! Been amazing to see how it’s resonating with people and I’m just glad it’s having an impact.
Escapism is certainly a mix of multiple genres ranging from dubstep to metal and more. Can you tell us a little bit about how/why you gravitated toward this fusion of sounds?
For sure. Well, I suppose it all starts with the core of what I wanted to do with this project – to find that perfect intersection of musical taste from everything that’s really stuck with me over the years, and dial that in with a modern production aesthetic. I wanted it to be truly authentic, and really all the alternative metal, emo, punk-type stuff was just what felt most like me.
I crave stuff with emotional gravity. Stuff that makes you feel like those early years when music could really have a hold on you, songs for those visceral heartbreaks or sneaking out at night, whatever it is there’s just a certain quality about those feelings that I’m always trying to recreate.
Turns out that for me, this fusion (I’ve started calling it Alternative Dubstep, dunno it just kind of feels right) is the best way for me to get that emotion across.
What would you say was the most gratifying part of the album-making process?
So, I had this moment the day I sent it to distribution, where the whole album just kind of felt bigger than me. It’s hard to explain but it felt like having this complete piece of art, existing in digital perpetuity, something I’m 100% proud of, that took a chance and is authentic to me – it just felt like I’ve finally contributed something to the greater story of art and culture for our strange existence. I know that’s a bit in the philosophical weeds hahaha but it’s what stuck out to me.
We hear you’re a big fan (and former competitive athlete) of the world of extreme sports. Would you say that has inspired your musical tastes as well?
Oh definitely. Yeah, as dedicated and obsessed with music as I am now, my former life was dedicated to racing downhill mountain bikes. Turned pro as a senior in high school, traveling all over for races, it’s truly a part of me. Music was always a hobby, and eventually, it just flip-flopped, but I’ve always been drawn to those kinds of sports – skiing, moto, snowmobiling, they’re just so damn fun. I think it’s only natural that those kinds of adrenaline-fueled sports would bleed their essence into any sort of creative outlet you’d do. Now writing music that’s authentic to me just naturally fits the vibe of those types of things.
Are there any similarities between how you approach competition as an athlete vs how you approach producing as an artist?
You know it’s funny, I’ve always felt like the two things scratched the same sort of itch, but I could never figure out what it was until just recently. They both put you in a flow state. When you’re riding really well or totally in the zone on a new song it’s the same feeling, action completely dictated by instinct, and nothing else in the world matters. It’s got this meditative quality that clears out the mental baggage and resets you to a better place.
How has transitioning into music from sports affected your life?
Well for one, I can now confidently say I have a career path that’s sustainable for a lifetime. Extreme sports just aren’t very nice on the body. You can’t bank on being able to do them forever, especially at the level you need to make a career out of it. Music on the other hand, I’m confident I’ll still be able to write a decent tune when I’m 70. No idea what kind of music I’ll be making at that point (probably some weird form of acid jazz?) but the ability has a lot more longevity. I’ll still be riding as long as I live, but music has always excited me for the fact that you could be innovative and pushing the limit pretty much forever.
Tell us more about your love for Oregon and how you convey it in your music. By all accounts, it seems like a pretty magical place.
It’s terrible actually, don’t bother with it. Nothing cool here. Haha. Yeah, we love it here, I grew up in Washington and cut my teeth in the Seattle scene but was never much of a city person. We moved out here to Bend in 2019 and absolutely fell head over heels for the place. It’s refreshing, everyone just seems to have their priorities straight – get outside and enjoy life first, the rest of the bs comes after. Plus, we’re 15 minutes away from biking, skiing, snowmobiling, moto, and hiking, it really just works for us, and living at the foothills of the mountains has been such a boost for me mentally and creatively.
What is your biggest goal as an artist now?
Touring, festivals, and shows. I want to bring people on that journey with me, taking the visual aesthetic of all the things I love outdoors and narrating them with the perfect blend of records. I fell in love with electronic music from the crowd, there’s just something about huge visuals paired with pristine production translated through a big system, it’s something unique to electronic music that is so tough to do with a live show. A DJ set has such an incredible ability to tell a story, there’s an innately entrancing quality of a curated musical thread, no breaks, I’ve been absolutely hypnotized by a few special sets and I want to provide that experience for others.
Are there any artists that you look up to and would love to collaborate with?
Plenty, though I’m a believer that collaboration has to happen naturally, friends first kind of thing, so I suppose we’ll see who I cross paths with.
On the collaboration front though, I see a future where metal bands and forward-thinking producers could really break ground on some innovative stuff, not that it isn’t happening already but I’m looking forward to moving in that direction to integrate the two cohesively into something new.
So, what’s next?
The last few months I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into finishing a full-length album visual + story, featuring content from many years of adventures in the backcountry and narrated with bits of story text (think like dark Zelda game aesthetic). It ties together the whole album concept and brings you along for the ride. It’s a full-on experience, one akin to what I talked about wanting to provide in a DJ set above. Keep ‘em peeled for that to be dropping real soon.
After that? More mountains and music. Thanks for having me!